Technorati has announced a new feature called Topics. Topics is basically a "river of news" from selected blogs in Technorati's six major categories: Entertainment, Technology, Politics, Sports, Business and Life. The stories from these blogs scroll down the page as they are written. According to Technorati, the blogs that are included are picked based on a variety of factors, including, "Technorati Authority, frequency of posting, use of relevant tags, links to related subject matter and general topicality."
Other sites that also work to aggregate the hottest stories on the Internet include Gabe Rivera's Techmeme and Tailrank. In my opinion, Technorati Topics comes up short, while Techmeme succeeds, simply because of the way that the stories are displayed. Techmeme reads more like a newspaper, with the most talked about stories of the moment on the top of the page, and its River feature, which shows the stories in chronological order. Technorati Topics lets the stories fall down the page, much like Digg Spy. The reason why this doesn't work particularly well for Technorati Topics is because so many blogs are included in its pool.
It seems as if Technorati is displaying every blog post from those in its pool, instead of the popular ones. It is really hard to tell from looking at Technorati Topics what the most important and popular stories are. While it may be entertaining to watch Technorati Topics for a few minutes to see some blog posts, the speed at which the stories fall down the page, along with the lack of filtering for individual posts, really hurts the service.
I have been a big fan of Technorati for awhile now, and it has been really painful to watch it struggle recently. Even though Technorati Topics will probably not be a smash hit it its current state, it's nice to see the site pushing out new features again and trying to get back on top. Hopefully this is just one of many things that Technorati has up its sleeves as it tries to get back on its feet.